A full report on the ship's capture will be released soon
It is possible that other Navy personnel may be disciplined
A U.S. Navy officer who helped oversee the 10 sailors who were captured by Iran earlier this year – which created an uproar in the U.S. when video was released showing them on their knees with their hands behind their heads – has been relieved of his duties, the Navy announced Friday.
Capt. Kyle S. Moses, who commanded U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Task Force 56, is the second Navy officer – and highest ranking – to be fired after the incident in the Persian Gulf.
Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, the commander of NAVCENT, took action following a review of a recently completed investigation, the Navy said.
“After thoroughly examining the findings of the final, comprehensive investigation, I determined that this additional action was necessary,” Donegan said in the statement, which added the Navy had lost confidence in Moses.
NAVCENT includes the Navy’s expeditionary combat forces in the Middle East.
In May, a more junior officer, Cmdr. Eric Rasch, the commanding officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, was fired from his job and temporarily reassigned. These type of personnel actions typically result in the officer retiring from active duty.
The findings of the completed investigation into the incident are slated to be released next week and the report could potentially contain information on any additional disciplinary actions against Navy personnel, according to Navy public affairs officer Lt. Ben Anderson.
The incident took place far from the ship’s home port in San Diego when the squadron was in the Gulf was to provide security for other ships.
Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps naval units captured the sailors on January 12, when six of their armed vessels surrounded two U.S. Navy boats.
The sailors were blindfolded and repeatedly separated and interrogated, Navy officials have told CNN.
According to a preliminary report, the sailors originally set out from Kuwait for Bahrain but quickly – and unknowingly – went off course and headed almost directly for Iran’s Farsi Island in the middle of the Persian Gulf.
The report indicated that the sailors were not aware of Farsi Island’s location and instead believed a small Saudi island was what they were supposed to be sailing around.
As the sailors unknowingly approached the Iranian island, they had already missed one scheduled check-in phone call with their command center, and the command center for some reason did not notice that the tracking equipment on board had them headed for Iranian waters.
Once inside Iranian waters, the sailors were quickly surrounded by two initial IRGC boats and didn’t immediately understand they were facing Iranian forces, according to the report. Four more IRGC boats quickly approached and blocked the Americans’ escape path.
At this point, the U.S. personnel decided not to resist, seeing no way out of their situation.
The sailors were all put on one boat and ordered to their knees with their hands behind their heads. Iranian video of that was seen around the world.